COMMENTARY: A key time for hospital officials to meet with legislators

Submitted by Mignonne Hollis|Herald/Review

I attended a gathering of hospital officials with state lawmakers representing Legislative District No. 14 in Phoenix on Thursday.

Dr. Dean French and Bruce Norton from the Sierra Vista Regional Health Center met with Speaker Gowan, Sen. Griffin and Rep. Stevens. Dr. French is the CEO and president at SVRHC, and Bruce Norton is the Senior Vice President and COO.

The topics focused on the unique challenges of health care and rural hospitals.

Specifically, on key services regional rural hospitals provide, like acute cardiac care, maternity services and behavioral health. Also, on over hospital funding, Medicaid expansion and the state’s hospital bed assessment.

It was an important time to meet with the legislators.

The governor’s proposed reduction in Medicaid provider rates by 3 percent, will negatively impact the hospital. Lawmakers were given examples of how this reduction will impact the bottom line and the services provided.

This was an excellent visit and a great start to strengthening the relationship between our legislators and the hospital.

Health care is not just a pillar of economic development in Cochise County — it is the foundation.

Without a vibrant health care industry, we will have a very difficult time attracting and retaining people in our area.

We are fortunate to have such dedicated legislators, who all took time out of their very hectic schedules to listen to our concerns.

Dr. French was equally impressed with the dedication of the legislators

“We thank Sen. Griffin for her work in crafting Senate Bill 1194 which is designed to draw more doctors into the rural and ‘medically underserved’ areas of Arizona.

“It is this type of commitment we applaud.”

Dr. Mirot represented the issues he and other physicians face with receiving payments from the Arizona Heath Care Cost Containment System.

Speaker Gowan’s policy advisor was quick to step in and assist.  “The willingness to help me and other doctors in the area facing similar issues goes a long way in demonstrating the involvement our legislators have.”

The group plans to make trips like this on a regular basis

Mignonne Hollis is the Executive Director of the Sierra Vista Economic Development Foundation. She can be contacted at hollism@svedf.org.

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